Woody’s House is a project recording studio in northern Westchester county, New York. It is easily accessible via the Metro North Hudson line from New York City. Set in a 150 year old converted barn on a wooded property, it is a peaceful place to record music without distractions. The live room employs recycled wood, repurposed from the former floors and walls of the horse stalls that used to be in the room, and like the famous Sunset Sound in California, the structure’s floor has a slight pitch to the center of the room. It is a great, warm room to record room sounds and ambiance in, but the angles and wood treatments tone it down enough for clean close- mic sounds. When the studio was being built, Woody Guthrie’s grand- daughter Anna Canoni generously donated some nice Woody Guthrie related materials to decorate the place, and one of the first sessions to happen in the live room was Pete Seeger rehearsing and recording with a Tribes Hill chorus! The studio retains a feeling and spirit of Pete and Woody, and this is an inspiring factor for artists who work there. Woody’s House is a hub of Hudson Valley music community collaboration, helping it to live up to and support the Pete and Woody mission and energy.
Owner/ producer/ engineer Fred Gillen Jr has been recording music since he was in high school, when he used to do multi-track recordings by holding one cassette recorder up to a microphone and playing along with it into a second tape recorder. He began recording more seriously using a 1/2 inch, 8- track tape machine in the early 90’s, but embraced digital some time around 1999 or 2000. Since then he has worked on at least a hundred albums and countless songs and smaller projects, many of which have received critical acclaim, radio play, and film or tv placement. At Woody’s house he currently uses Pro Tools 11 Native with a Mac Pro, through a MOTU 16A interface. He also does on-location recordings with a portable 16 channel set-up and Mac Book Pro laptop. Like one of his biggest inspirations Daniel Lanois, he’s open to fixed time and beat loops, but also to an old-school, live-from-the-floor approach. Whatever best serves the artist and the music is what he’s interested in doing, and he has a great deal of experience to draw from in figuring out the best approach.
The studio has a very quirky and interesting collection of gear and instruments. Thanks to good friend Jim Keyes, whose father Larry was an engineer at the legendary CBS 30th Street studios in New York City, a collection of microphones from CBS usually lives at Woody’s House, joining the studio’s already extensive and interesting collection of mics. The fact that any of these microphones may have been used on sessions of people like Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, or any number of Columbia recording artists back in the day adds some cool history to the studio, and this vintage equipment is just, plain great sounding, wherever it comes from! Many of the musicians who record at Woody’s House just love hanging out in this cool place so steeped in music and camaraderie. It really feels more like some kind of a club house than a recording studio.